After a difficult 3-4 road trip that saw the Mets get swept in Milwaukee, top prospect Francisco Alvarez will reportedly join New York for the team’s home opener against the Marlins. Mets fans got a brief glimpse of the 21-year-old late last year during the team’s stretch run. But with Omar Narvaez set to miss a good amount of time due to a calf strain, Alvarez will called upon to be a key contributor.
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A Look at Alvarez
The consensus top catching prospect in the Minors, Francisco Alvarez has been on the radar dating back to his days with Kingsport (R) in 2019. The 21-year-old flashed impressive power and plate discipline in the Minors early on, to go along with a very strong arm behind the dish.
Alvarez hit 24 home runs after the Minor Leagues returned to play in 2021, then crushed another 27 between Binghamton (AA) and Syracuse (AAA) in 2022. Standing at 5’10” and 233 pounds, Alvarez’s strength is very visible up close. The young catcher has the ability to drive the ball with ease, and it’s very possible that Alvarez can be a 20-25 home run hitters in the Majors. And as mentioned earlier, the 21-year-old does a solid job of taking pitches and working counts. Alvarez walked 70 times over 114 Minor League games and recorded a strong .374 OBP last season.
Venezuela has produced several talented catchers over the years, including former Met Wilson Ramos and seven-time All-Star Salvador Perez. Aside from Perez’s build, one can see a lot of similarities between both Alvarez and Perez’s game. If the Mets prospect can come close to what the Royals star has become, New York will have a cornerstone piece for years to come.
The Mets believed that Alvarez’s bat was ready for the Majors last year, when New York called him up late last year for a pivotal weekend series against the Braves. While the young catcher didn’t have much success against the Braves, he did hit his first MLB home run a few days later against the Nationals.
A Look at the Mets
We’ve already seen several top Major League prospects thrust into the bigs over the first week of 2023. A banged-up Brewers ballclub called up slugger Joey Wiemer to slot into Milwaukee’s outfield picture, while the O’s moved right-hander Grayson Rodriguez up from AAA after an injury to one of Baltimore’s starters. Now, catcher Francisco Alvarez will replace Omar Narvaez, who could miss the next two months with a high-grade strain to his left calf.
With Narvaez out for an extended period of time, expect Alvarez to see a healthy amount of time behind the plate for the Mets. As an elite prospect and a key piece of the Mets’ future, there’s no reason to expect New York to call up arguably the team’s top prospect and now use him on a regular basis. While Tomas Nido is more of an advanced catcher and receiver, the 21-year-old’s ability to hit is invaluable.
A lot of pressure will be on Alvarez to produce and provide a jolt for the Mets. Over the first week of the 2023 season, the Mets had a total team OPS of .634, well below the team’s 2022 total and a figure that ranked as the sixth-worst in the league.